Economic impact on host cities

A glimpse of a remote production at the Monster Energy DreamHack Studios in Stockholm, Sweden.
A glimpse of a remote production at the Monster Energy DreamHack Studios in Stockholm, Sweden.

ESL Gaming envelops some of esports’ greatest competitions, unique gaming lifestyle festivals and online competitive platforms within a company that maximizes the value of these properties for gamers, brands and publishers worldwide. 

Under ESL Gaming, ESL, the world leading esports company, and DreamHack, where the gaming community comes to life, are accelerating the mission to shape the future of esports and gaming by pushing forward new innovations to serve fans and communities across events, platforms, formats and game titles — from casual to professional levels — in every region around the world.

The impact on the industry is monumental and ongoing. The impact on the cities who host these events is reflected through direct spending.

The objective of studying economic impact is to document the actual impact stemming from ESL Gaming events while verifying other values such as branding, social impact, and more established by the event.

DreamHack Dallas 2019

DreamHack creates an arena where you can come to connect, explore, win, play a part, and be yourself through a gaming lifestyle experience. The debut of DreamHack in any new city can be a challenge as each festival caters content to the local and regional community. Dallas was just the fourth city in the U.S. to ever host when DREAMHACK DALLAS took place in June 2019. The expectations were high because of the addition of the DreamHack Masters — the three-day event was set to make this the largest DreamHack festival in North America to date. The 24 hour-a-day festival weekend featured everything gaming under one roof and was jam-packed with nearly $2 million in pro esports tournaments, collegiate matches, world famous LAN party, cosplay championship, panels, art, activities, expo, screenings, live music and more.

As a result, the festival provided a substantial impact on direct spending in Dallas’s tourism industry. According to a study by the Dallas Sports Commission, nearly 30,000 visitors contributed approximately $3.6 million in direct spending to the Dallas economy during DreamHack Dallas. The summary of key findings showed:

DreamHack Dallas 2019 was one of the largest DreamHack events in North America to date:

DreamHack Winter 2019

DREAMHACK WINTER takes place each year in Jönköping, Sweden (sans 2020 due to Covid) and is probably the most anticipated, highly-attended DreamHack event of the year (alongside DreamHack Summer). Sweden is DreamHack headquarters, and while DreamHack started as a gathering of friends and their computers in a school cafeteria — with no online access — it has grown into a beacon of internet culture and a gathering place for gamers worldwide. Expectations for a highly-attended spectacle event is always envisioned, and this also is considered the world’s biggest gaming lifestyle festival.

Like Dallas, the impact study concluded that Dreamhack Winter 2019 generated an economic impact of $7,380,331* in the Jönköping region as a result of hosting. Some of the key takeaways from this event included:

* Converted from €6,694,785, exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.10240 USD

IEM Katowice 2019

ESL hosted the 2019 Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) in Katowice, Poland. This competition hosted three top esport titles, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Starcraft II and Fortnite. Additionally, it also hosted the VR League (virtual reality league). 2019 marked the 36th ESL-hosted competition since the inaugural Intel® Extreme Masters competition in 2010. The tournament took place at the legendary Spodek Arena, deep within the heart of European professional gaming in Katowice. The world’s best players within respective game titles battled for a piece of the prize pool of more than $1.8 million as thousands of fans came to Katowice to witness this event.

IEM brings together the top gamers, fans and technology while continuing to surpass expectations year after year. The economic impact analysis on the 2019 event concluded the IEM contributed to the local economy of Katowice with $14,456,384*. The main reasons why the event had a greater economic than other similar events are:

Additional facts that most likely will create an impact for the City of Katowice and ESL going forward:

* Converted from €12,711,144, exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.13730 USD

To Sum it up

According to Newzoo, the esports industry is expected to continue to grow through 2021, with 8.7% year-on-year growth, ending the year with 240 million occasional viewers and 234 million esports enthusiasts — a total esports audience of 474.0 million. By 2024, Newzoo predicts the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for esports enthusiasts from 2019-2024 will be approximately 7.7%, making the total audience 577.2 million. This showcases esports’ rapid growth at large-scale events.

As the world continues to settle into a “new reality”, it will become even more important to not only reach out to and connect with our fans and communities, but to also help partnering cities of ESL Gaming events understand the positive impact we continue to bring — whether travel, tourism, awareness or other.

The fact is, esports is, perhaps, the fastest-growing industry in the world. We are grateful to be able to bring these events to those who love them most and, as we begin to share these experiences in person in 2021, 2022 and beyond, this economic impact will perhaps be even more important to the cities we visit. Esports brings value not only to those who participate, work within or spectate, but also to those who host, partner and champion this industry.